Geriatric delinquents

To quote Clegg on ‘Last of the Summer Wine;’ “The young are a great comfort as you grow older. Makes you realise that at least you’re going in the right direction.”
As I get older I find growing older distinctly liberating. In this liberation there are definite milestones. The first came when I got married. My female acquaintances suddenly divided themselves into three distinct groups. The first group, the largest, relaxed. I was married, I wasn’t trying to chat them up or whatever, and they were just happy to talk to their mate Jim. The second group, the next largest, didn’t change the way the treated me at all. The third group was the smallest and I soon learned to avoid them. They seemed to work on the principle that no one misses a slice from a cut loaf and now I was married I was available without consequences.
The next milestone was one I passed without really noticing. I was down in London attending a couple of meetings and three or four of us were having a drink over a pint at the end of the day. I mentioned, in passing, with no attempt to brag, that several times in the previous couple of days attractive young Polish ladies had come up to me and asked me for directions as how they could get to wherever they were going.
One of my mates punctured that one, he said, “Well they trust you Jim, you remind them of their peasant grandfather.”
Mind you, I’m just a kid when it comes to this sort of thing. I remember my Dad having trouble with some snotty jumped up little twonk of a bureaucrat. A real nasty piece of ‘More than my job’s worth’. (Those outside the UK might be surprised that we have such people, but alas it is true. May the Lord have more mercy on them than they are willing to grant their fellow citizens.) Anyway Dad landed home. He wasn’t driving by then; it was probably not much more than a year before he died. By that time Mum had to ferry him. Anyway he was still fuming when he got home. He told me what had happened so I pointed to the stick he used to walk with and told him, “Next time, prod him with that.”
He looked at his stick and said “I couldn’t do that?”
“What’re they going to do, jail you? Anyroad, if it ends up in court, we’ll be able to cover the cost by selling tickets.”
Cheered him up no end but next time he had to deal with that office he got a human being to deal with and there were no problems.
Still, for the last few days I’ve been watching a real expert. Let’s call him Old Bill. My guess is that he’ll never see seventy five again but I could be a year or two adrift. Anyway Old Bill is currently in a hospital ward. The other day the nurses were talking about him in hushed tones, so when they went I asked one of the other patients what had happened; this is the story that I’ve managed to put together.
Basically I think Bill had got bored so, dressed in bright orange hospital pyjamas, dressing gown and slippers he took his zimmer frame and walked past the nurses’ station on the ward and made his way to the day room. From the day room, when the nurse at the nurses’ station was busy, he did the last twenty feet of the corridor and took a sharp left to the lifts.
This took him down to the ground floor and then he walked the hundred or so yards of corridor and went out of the main door where he was met by the taxi he’d ordered. A passing member of staff helped him get into the taxi, and he told the taxi driver to take him to the Preston Street club. Now the taxi driver was beginning to smell a rat at this but what could he do, especially when half way there Old Bill cheerfully tells him he doesn’t have the money on him, but he’ll pay him in the club. At the club the taxi driver takes him in. The staff and regulars are a bit surprised to see him. (Not many folk drink there wearing bright orange pyjamas, dressing gown, slippers accessorised with a zimmer frame.) Anyway someone bought him a pint to stop him wandering off to somewhere more hospitable and the taxi driver phoned the hospital.
“Hi have you discharged old Bill?”
“No why?”
“Oh well, I’ll bring him back then.”
This afternoon I passed Old Bill as he was leaving the room his bed is in.
“Going far Bill?”
He just winked at me, grinned and said, “Nah, just the Gents.”
He didn’t add ‘this time’ but he managed to leave the words hanging unspoken.

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6 thoughts on “Geriatric delinquents

  1. The Story Reading Ape August 19, 2013 at 10:56 am Reply

    GOOD for OLD Bill, that’s one way of making sure he gets the attention and care he needs 🙂

    • jwebster2 August 19, 2013 at 11:00 am Reply

      Well the comment most often heard is ‘Why is he still in hospital?’ I think it’s more they’re making sure that he can cope on his own when he gets home

  2. M T McGuire August 19, 2013 at 8:31 pm Reply

    My Uncle told me a lovely story about my great grandfather which is very similar. He was having trouble living alone and my granddad and great uncle decided the best solution was to get him a live in carer, he decided the solution was to live in his local pub. I’m not sure of the ins and outs but one of my grandfather’s friends, who he was more likely to listen to, was sent to get him.



    • jwebster2 August 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm Reply

      When you think about it, in Agatha Christie people were always retiring to boarding houses on the south coast, so the pub wasn’t perhaps the most outrageous solution 🙂 I saw Bill when I was in hospital this afternoon and he was dressed and waiting for discharge, he should be home by now

      • M T McGuire August 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm

        Glad to hear he’s escaped! 😉



      • jwebster2 August 21, 2013 at 4:37 pm

        Yes, I felt that really he should have been lowered out of the window using knotted sheets but actually he just walked out like everyone else 🙂

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